Graduate profiles

The interdisciplinary nature of our courses means that our graduates follow a wide variety of career paths after leaving Essex. These profiles give you an idea of just some of the options open to you.

Museums and curating

Accountancy

  • Kelvin Day, American studies

    Since graduating with a BA American (US) Studies in 2010, Kelvin has employed the many skills he gained at Essex in a new career in accountancy. He now works for a medium-sized firm in London.

    “Studying at Essex was particularly appealing to me because of its location between London and my home city of Norwich. I was keen to take BA American (US) Studies and the academic reputation at Essex is excellent, so it was a no-brainer to study there. Settling in was very easy and smooth - I joined several clubs and societies and made lots of friends.

    “The Centre utilises modules and subject areas from a broad range of departments which makes finding areas of interest to study very easy. My favourite modules were US history and literature. History offered an insight into the specific moments that shaped the US, while literature put these moments into context with a specific literary text.

    “Now I am about to pursue a full-time career in accountancy with a medium-sized firm in London. Although my course is not directly relevant to my chosen career, it gave me many skills and opportunities which made me much more employable. The year abroad is particularly attractive to employers since it shows your ability to think on your feet and adapt to diverse situations.”

Civil service

  • Marie Denninghaus, European studies

    After graduating with a BA European Studies in 2009, Marie completed a Masters degree at University College, London. She then went on to work for the European Commission.

    “I chose Essex because I liked the course and it offered a lot of flexibility. The Colchester Campus is also conveniently close to Stansted Airport and London. Settling in was much easier than I thought it would be, especially socially because you make so many new friends even within the first week. Our course coordinator knew every single one of us personally, and I received lots of help and support from the staff.

    “I have just completed my Masters at UCL and will shortly be starting a traineeship with the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture. My degree will be highly relevant for this and I am sure that I managed to secure this traineeship because of my academic background in European studies. Another important factor is the language skills that I acquired during my studies and my year abroad in France, which are very valuable now that I am applying for jobs.

    “The people that I met, and the friendships that I made, will always remind me of my time at Essex; both academically and socially Essex was exactly the right choice for me.”

  • Zarine Russell, Latin American studies

    Zarine RussellShortly after graduating with a BA Latin American Studies with Human Rights in 2009, Zarine started her career as an executive assistant for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

    “I chose to study at Essex as the Interdisciplinary Studies Centre had a fantastic reputation, doubled with the world-renowned Human Rights Centre. I was able to study the two areas I am extremely passionate about and could not have chosen a better course or university!

    “I found settling into the University really easy. Living in the Towers was a brilliant start to my first year, being able to meet so many new people. I immersed myself quickly into student life, getting involved with volunteering activities, as well as working in Top Bar on the Colchester Campus.

    “The flexibility of my course was fantastic. I was able to pick modules across many disciplines including modern languages, politics, sociology, history, literature, law and human rights. Although challenging, my course provided a unique way to study across many fields, and helped me acquire so many transferable skills

    “The best part of my course was spending my year abroad in Bogotá, Columbia, where I studied at the Universidad de Los Andes. It was an amazing experience, which enabled me to improve my Spanish. All these factors helped secure my current career, as language skills are required for my postings in embassies overseas

    “The support and guidance that was provided throughout my course was brilliant. Being part of a small centre, we all benefited from the attention and help of the staff. All in all, my time at Essex can be described simply as challenging, life changing and worth every minute. It has been the best time of my life!”

  • Liisi Vahtramäe, European studies

    Liisi VahtramaeAfter graduating with a BA European Studies with Spanish in 2010, Liisi secured a job as a consultant at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Estonia.

    “I chose to study at Essex due to its high academic achievements and the international reputation it holds around the world. I was particularly looking for the opportunity to gain a broader international perspective on global affairs that I could take back to Estonia. Learning from world-class researchers from the Department of Government and Human Rights Centre made lectures fascinating, and the international community within my classes resulted in healthy discussions.

    “During my time at Essex I learnt both Spanish and French, and perfected my English. As I now work in foreign affairs, I use all these languages on a daily basis. Spending a year abroad in Spain also broadened my mind and improved my overall communication skills, which are particularly useful in my current role. As the foreign policy of Estonia is directly linked to that of the European Union, the political, social and historical knowledge of Europe I gained at Essex has been extremely beneficial along my career path.”

Higher education

  • Cassandra Gardiner, American (US) studies

    Having completed her BA American (US) Studies in 2007 and MA Art and Film Studies in 2008, Cassandra is now the UK International Student Recruitment Officer at the University of Essex.

    “I chose Essex because of the interdisciplinary nature of BA American Studies. I found that as my course progressed I was able to specialise in specific subjects and this led to MA Art and Film Studies. The prospect of the year abroad was also a huge factor - I wanted to experience the country that I was to learn about from an international perspective and do some travelling.

    “A primary part of my current role is recruiting international students to the University of Essex. Having been a study abroad student in the US, I am able to draw upon my personal experience when recruiting students. While studying for my course I was a student ambassador, leading campus tours on applicant days for prospective students. I was also a member of the Staff-Student Liaison Committee for American studies. I developed excellent networking, communication and teambuilding skills throughout my studies, and use them on a day to day basis within my role. I will always be grateful to my degree for giving me the foundation and skills necessary for a successful career.”

Human resources

  • Danielle de Moura, liberal arts

    After graduating with a BA Humanities (since renamed BA Liberal Arts) in 2012, Danielle continued her studies at University of California, Los Angeles.

    “Having been brought up in Portugal it took a few months to completely adjust to living away from home and learning how to deal with my independence. Academically, I found it challenging because I’ve never had to write an essay before, but I was very proud when I realised I was exceeding my expectations.

    “As a liberal arts student I had lots of options open to me. I chose to study international politics, Spanish language and social anthropology in depth. I particularly enjoyed The Enlightenment module which was thoroughly interesting, my International Relations module because I learnt to critically evaluate the world we live in, and my Anthropology module, as I was able to assess what is said to be right or wrong in society.

    “After graduating I began my Human Resources Management certificate programme at University of California, Los Angeles. The academic background that I developed during my time at Essex gave me the vision to pursue this amazing field, where career development is endless. I am proud to be an Essex graduate and will cherish my memories forever!”

Media

  • Josephine Asante, American (US) studies

    Josephine AsanteAfter she graduated with a BA American (US) Studies in 2008, Josephine worked for two public relations companies, then for CNN on their film show The Screening Room, before securing her current internship in New York city.

    “I really wanted to do American studies with a year abroad and the course at Essex was one of the best that I found. I had also previously visited the University and loved it!

    “I especially enjoyed my module on Black America, because it was something I was particularly interested in, and the film modules I studied at both Essex and the University of California, where I stayed during my year abroad. They have been fundamental to my chosen career because they demonstrate my interest in film, production and the media industry

    “Currently I am working in New York on the Mountbatten Internship programme for a year. The company I am working for connects producers with advertising agencies for commercials

    “I loved being at Essex. My course was great and studying in the US was amazing! It caters for every type of person and I made friends for life. I really miss the University but it has put me on a good path for the future.”

  • Leila Usmani, Latin American studies

    Leila UsmaniAfter graduating with a BA Latin American Studies in 2012, Leila secured an internship as a filming and documentation producer for the CASA Latin American Theatre Festival.

    “I chose Essex because of its incredible reputation in Latin American studies and the interdisciplinary nature of the humanities modules on offer. The small and intimate nature of my Centre provided an environment in which I could flourish, work at my own pace and develop strong relationships with lecturers, tutors and support staff. Studying an eclectic mix of history, sociology and anthropology gave me a diverse foundation upon which to base my final-year research project on the Garífuna ethnic group of Central America.

    “The language skills I gained during my time at Essex, and through studying abroad, have enabled me to further pursue my academic interests in Latin America, whilst my research skills have allowed me to produce empirical evidence that I can present to an academic audience. Upon completing my internship, I enrolled in a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course and now live in Arizona with the aim of translating my dissertation for publication in a Mexican academic journal.”

Postgraduate study

  • Steluta Grama, liberal arts

    Having graduated with a BA Humanities (since renamed BA Liberal Arts) in 2012, Steluta worked for a software company in London before deciding to continue her studies at the University of London

    “I choose to study at Essex because BA Humanities was the kind of interdisciplinary course I was looking for, which can rarely be found at other universities. My modules, especially the philosophy ones, helped me to gain strong debating skills and in-depth analysis skills. The Centre was well organised and the staff were very helpful. Thanks to my flexible timetable, I could also work part-time for the Students' Union, undertake voluntary work and develop an amazing CV.

    “I had a great time at Essex from the very start, both academically and socially, everyone was very welcoming. The Colchester Campus became my home, my course was great fun and I was always surrounded by lovely people (as well as loads of trees and ducks!). If I could do it all over again I would always choose Essex as my first choice.

    “After graduating from Essex I worked for a software company in London as a project coordinator and was promoted to Client Success Manager. I am now studying MSc Mind, Language and Embodied Cognition at the University of Edinburgh, and really benefitted from my experience of studying a multidisciplinary course at Essex.”

  • Laura Marina Aguilera Cassis, liberal arts

    After graduating with a BA Humanities (since renamed BA Liberal Arts) in 2013, Laura has continued her studies at postgraduate level.

    “"I was attracted to liberal arts at Essex because of its interdisciplinary nature, which allowed me to effectively create my own course based on my interests. This was perfect for me, as I realised the value of pursuing knowledge for the sake of learning, rather than just obtaining a degree. I was encouraged to always question existing knowledge, which created an abundance of different ideas. The course was never dull as there was always more to be explored and, because of the unique ethos, I can now confidently express myself in a variety of situations, which is perfect preparation for almost any career."

  • Ralph Barker, liberal arts

    Ralph BarkerAfter graduating with a BA Humanities (since renamed BA Liberal Arts) in 2012, Ralph gained experience at two media companies before deciding to embark on a Masters course in London.

    “Essex was the perfect choice for me as it offered a course which really appealed to me and was quite unique amongst UK universities. It enabled me to study a variety of different modules and not be constrained to only a few subject areas. Academically, I thrived in an environment that allowed me to express my ideas. I was surprised and delighted to learn that I was quite skilled in areas that I had not even considered before, such as philosophy and creative writing. I really enjoyed my film studies modules, as well as learning and discussing some very deep philosophical issues.

    “During the summer of my graduation, I jumped straight into an internship with a film production company in London, through which I managed to secure a brief introduction to another animation company. I have since started a Masters degree at Central Saint Martins in London, in the area of applied imagination in the creative industries. My undergraduate studies are extremely relevant to this, as I will be utilising the knowledge I gained from all of the different subject areas.”

  • Jaide Mead, liberal arts

    Jaide MeadAfter graduating with a BA Humanities (since renamed BA Liberal Arts) in 2011, Jaide stayed at Essex to study MA Psychosocial Studies.

    “Studying at Essex gave me the choice and diversity that I wanted from an undergraduate course. The Centre was fantastic and I could not have asked for more supportive people to help me settle in, guide me and answer all of my questions.

    “I was also able to branch out and study modules from several departments. My personal favourites were The History of Sexuality in America and the sociology modules on native American life and anthropology, which were both really engaging; they offered me an insight into other cultures.

    “In my second year I studied the module Psychodynamic Counselling with Children and Young Adults, which introduced me to psychoanalytic thinking. This really interested me and motivated me to continue studying. My current course, MA Psychosocial Studies, allows me to pursue my interests in psychoanalysis, whilst maintaining a multidisciplinary approach, as it incorporates sociological theory as well.”

  • Mirjam Moll, European studies

    Mirjam MollAfter graduating with a BA European Studies with Modern Languages in 2009, Mirjam moved to the Netherlands to study MA European Studies, with a focus on international relations, at the University of Maastricht.

    “I chose to study at Essex because it offered a flexible course that allowed me to study more than one modern language. It also had an excellent reputation for both languages and politics.

    “Academically, I found my lecturers to be extremely encouraging and helpful. My course was really tailored towards my way of studying and I was able to take modules that interested me. It was possible for me to study both French and Italian alongside each other, which I found exciting and diverse.

    “Another aspect of my course that I found really rewarding was my year abroad, which I spent in Paris. It really helped me put my language skills into practice and enabled me to learn about a different culture. Overall, I really gained a lot from my time at university and am proud to say that I was a student at Essex.”

Teaching

  • Olivia Bamford, liberal arts

    After graduating with a BA Humanities (since renamed BA Liberal Arts) in 2009, Olivia began working in museums. She has since decided to train to become an art teacher.

    “BA Humanities (now called BA Liberal Arts) at Essex was a unique course in that it allowed me to choose different modules from a range of subjects, which meant I could tailor my course to things I was particularly interested in. All the staff were incredibly supportive and I felt in control of my own learning; they were responsive to ideas which meant you felt valued.

    “After I graduated, I secured an apprenticeship working with North Hertfordshire Museum Service. I helped run workshops in various primary and secondary schools, and for adult learning, covering many historical periods as well as many other subjects, which was amazing. It was always busy and varied which was perfect for me. I am now applying to study a PGCE to become an art teacher; I loved studying the art history modules at Essex so much that I’m very keen to teach others about it. Maybe if I had not done such a flexible degree this would not have been as easy to undertake this transition.”